Exclusive Interview with The Ettes

Since their debut album “Shake The Dust” was released in 2006, The Ettes’ have been busy as a classic garage rock band and with their own solo projects. Over the past 10 years, Coco, Jem, and Poni, have released 5 albums as the Ettes, toured internationally, worked on individual projects, run a business together, and started their own record label.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of their pioneering project, the Ettes’ are rereleasing their debut album with exclusive bonus tracks and it’s available today! This is the first time the album will be available digitally. They recently released one of the tracks called “Eat The Night” and you can stream it here. We had a chance to catch up with Coco, Jem, and Poni to talk about their musical growth, living in Nashville, and their label launch.

TOM TOM: I’m so excited for the release! It’s such a testament to staying true to your sound and style. You’re a classic garage rock genre bender. It’s so great to celebrate the debut album! 

Lindsay “COCO” Hames: Thank you! We’re excited to bring this record out, for those who know it, and for those who haven’t heard it before. I love a band’s first album. It’s a distillation of who they are then and there. In that sense, Shake The Dust is a classic debut that is very much who the Ettes were; therefore, essential listening!

How do you think you’ve grown as artists since the initial release of ‘Shake The Dust’? 

COCO: Probably even during the making of this record, and then immediately afterward, we began to try new things and grow. We made five albums over a short period of time, touring whenever we weren’t recording. We lived a lot of life and had so many great experiences and exposure to great influences during that time and thankfully still do! Your confidence grows to try new things. The best part about being an artist is expressing yourself, and growing gives you more ways to do that, which is incredibly fun and freeing.

Jeremy “JEM” Cohen: Since then, I’ve gotten heavily into producing and wanting to record and work with other bands. So it’s put me on that path, to work with other bands. It led us down this crazy path of being in a touring band and being a musician, then being a small business owner.

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Poni, 10 years later, what do you think is the most valuable piece of advice you could give about playing the drums?

Maria “PONI” Silver: Play loud, play what you want and never stop learning your craft.

You’ve said you moved to Los Angeles initially to pursue film and other creative outlets and that you picked up drumming as some sort of therapy. I love that. Looking back, how do you think being a drummer shaped the woman you are today?

PONI: I was pursuing costuming within the film industry. Drumming became my therapy after not really feeling the coastal change. But without LA, I probably wouldn’t be drumming! So not only did it shape the person I am today, but it remolded, pushed and prodded me into a more confident woman with great arms!

How would you describe the bonus tracks featured on the reissue?

COCO: That’s the sound of early days, my friend! There is a youthful, raw energy in those where maybe we felt too shy about to put them on the record. Or they were edged out by songs that fit the grand scheme for the LP. But it’s all part of a whole, all part of a passionate, dedicated band, speaking in their voice for the first time as a unit.

You all run a shop out of Nashville. How did that come about?

JEM: We all had our interests and it turned into a pretty big record store/vintage clothing boutique/venue/pop-gallery/petting zoo/collective. It’s doing well, it’s booming right now!

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Can you tell us more about the label launch, Fond Objects Records?

COCO: Fond Object Records has been our label/imprint for a couple years now. Now, we’re releasing its first release on its own. We look forward to releasing more records from artists we love. It has been great to have our shop as our home base, because our favorite artists have a physical space to come to us.

JEM: We’re able to do what we want to do, I don’t have to really answer to anybody. I don’t think we can. After years of touring, it’s really hard to come back into ‘the real world,’ so to speak. You kind of have to do your own thing, create your own ways. None of us want to work for big corporation after all these years. We want to release as many cool albums as we can. There’s so many great bands in Nashville. There’s so many great bands around the world. But, there’s a lot of bands that can’t get albums out right now. So, I’d like to be there to help them get their albums out, you know?

What sort of influence do you take from living in Nashville?

PONI: Nashville has allowed me to get involved in different genres of music with some of the most talented people I’ve ever met. And most of these relationships just start with a conversation at the bar.

COCO: The influence I’ve taken from Nashville is not so much sonic as it is communal. The Nashville music community is like no other. It’s why I came back to make my solo album; a couple phone calls, and you’ve got the greatest, most fun players around, in the studio, and they’re also friends!

How’s the female music scene?

COCO: There’s lots of great, talented women working out of Nashville. And there always have been.

PONI: The female music scene here has some of the most talented, collaborative and supportive people I’ve ever been involved with. Some of my favorites are Margo Price, Adia Victoria (with fantastic drummer Tiffany Minton), Ruby Amanfu, LG (from former Thelma and the Sleeze), Hurray for the Riff Raff, Ariel Bui…I could go on!

What other music artist influenced you then compared to now?

COCO: I was devoutly adherent to the ’60s and the Sympathy catalog. I needed nothing else! These days I am more open to the expansion and resulting influences of my favorite music. I’m more equal parts historian and adventurer now, as opposed to having such a laser focus on my favorite little world/genre. These days I just might listen to something new… maybe…

JEM: I was way more close minded about what I was listening to. I got really into the garage rock world, really just like listening to rock & roll only. Holly Golightly, The Cramps, The Ramones, all the classics. Now, with owning our record store, we’re just exposed to an insane amount of music; especially living in Nashville because it’s so genre-less. As you get older, you realize you don’t have to like one thing when there’s so many good things out there.

What artists are you listening to most recently?

COCO: I just finished my first solo record, so to be honest, I’ve been listening to the music I’ve been making for this record. What I’m hearing are a lot of expansions on influences that run the gamut from ’60s girl group to ’70s country to ’80s indie to ’90s rock and Britpop. It’s hard to name names! I’ve been living in Memphis so I’ve been getting quite an additional education that I’m sure creeps into my music, too.

JEM: I can’t stop listening to French pop comps, psychedelic, jazz, folk-psych, “Games People Play” by Joe South. Man, I love that song.

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